Naming Mayor Council President May Be Beneficial For Governing Body
From: The Northern Valley Suburbanite, Friday, January 7, 2011 by Mike Curley, Staff Writer
ENGLEWOOD – The city council elected Mayor Frank Huttle as the governing body’s president on Jan. 4 – a move that some political experts say could bring the two municipal offices closer together.
Huttle said he was “grateful and honored,” by the vote of confidence the council showed in him.
Englewood’s city charter, which was adopted in 1978, allows for the mayor to be elected council president. Council Attorney William Bailey said the move was fairly unique to the city.
While Huttle will preside over and set the meetings, he will still not have voting power except to break a tie.
At the meeting, Huttle said as council president he would change how the council operates, with workshop meetings to take place every other week, between the regular council meetings.
Having the mayor act as council president moves Englewood toward a borough form of government which is practiced in several other municipalities in Bergen County, said Professor Emeritus Earnest Reock of the Center for Government Services at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.
He said while he has not heard of a mayor being elected council president in the past, the practice of combining the two positions is not unusual.
One advantage of having the mayor serve as council president, Reock said, is to bring the offices closer together, and avoid the potential for having a council and a mayor that are at odds with each other.
On the other hand, he said, it could diffuse the responsibility of the offices, and blur the lines between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Algrant said later in the meeting that the council has to take the opportunity and challenge to reorganize how the city is run.
The coming decade, she said, will redefine city government, and she invited residents to join with the city in reorganizing for the future.
Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, who was present at the meeting, commended her husband for taking on the extra responsibility that would come with the position of council president, noting he has “a lot on his plate.”